I feel like I have 2 New Years. The 1st comes in January, and the 2nd comes in May. As a teacher, I still think about life in terms of semesters like I did in college. Whenever I make plans, I will often think to myself, "I can do that next semester." Well, just like the normal new year I find myself again reflecting on this past year. I think about the highs and lows, the hardships, the difficulties, and the triumphs. I think about the struggles my students have had, and I think about the victories that we have gotten to celebrate together. I have heard that there are 2 days that teachers look forward to most, the 1st day of school, and the last day of school. That is so true. Each year I get the opportunity to start over. Any mess ups that I made in the previous year I can fix and hopefully not fall into those traps again. I am already thinking about next year, and I plan on spending some time this summer prepping for August.
I am so excited for school to be out. I am tired of a schedule of early nights and earlier mornings. I am ready to stay up late, I am ready to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and wake up at a leisurely pace, rather than jumping right out of bed. I am ready for a season of fun in the sun. I am ready. And then I realized I have enough vacation days that I could take off now and be done! O Joy! But, I am not going to. I cannot remember I the last time I have taken a day off work. We get so many days off, and we get the summer off that I feel it is important to be here for my students. I only get them for a short time and I want to make the most of the time I do have with them. Plus, there is a small bonus. At our school we get 10 days off a year, and they don't roll over into next year, instead, we get paid for every day we don't take off. So, it is kind of like an end of year bonus, which is so nice, and will go straight into the e-fund.
But, I am also sad to leave my students. Some will not be retuning, some will go on to the middle school, and I will have others for one more year as they go on to 6Th grade. In the summer I worry about my kids. Teaching on the "wrong side of town" I worry about what they are doing, what they are being exposed to, and if they are ok. I worry because I parent the parents as much as I do my students. I worry because some of the parents are more concerned with their own lives than the well being of their children, and as a result my sweet students are left to fend for themselves. Some of them get locked out of the house and roam the streets during the day and night, and some are locked in the house and not allowed to go outside because the parents fear what they will be exposed to. While they are locked in the house they are watching movies full of bad language, violence, and other images no 10 year old should be seeing. They eat junk food, and get no exercise at all.
But, I just have to pray and give them and my worry to the Lord, because ultimately they are in his hands and I have to trust that he will protect them. I guess that with every teacher these thoughts start to fill the mind at the end of the year. For me, it is hard because during this time I feel so out of control, and as a teacher part of our job is control. Letting go of that can be difficult but I simply have to trust.